Sunday, January 25, 2009

Worrier or Warrior?

Sharon Warren, author of “Magnetizing Your Heart’s Desires,” sent me an email with that quote, and I fell in love with it (if you can fall in love with a quote; grin).

It’s hard not to notice the national and global transformation that is taking place at this time in history. People are going through just the most awful “stuff.” I call it “heavy-duty-life-doo.” Many have lost their jobs, their homes, insurance, and who knows what else. It’s a pretty scary time for many of us.

Which brings me to the quote. Are you a worrier, or are you a warrior? Personally, I’m not a worrier, but I’m still working on becoming a warrior. (I wonder if there’s an in-between? Grin.) I just refuse to worry about anything that I have no control over, and most of what is going on in this country and the world, I cannot control. In the movie “Billy Jack,” Billy stated, “What’s going to happen is going to happen, and all the worrying in the world isn’t going to change a thing.” That was back in 1971 when I first heard that quote, and I have tried to live by it since then.

Is it easy? Not always. Even I have my moments. Ask yourself, “Do I have any control over this situation?” “Will I do myself or anyone around me any good by worrying?” You can only control what you can control and nothing more. What we can control, though, is our attitude and the thoughts that go through our mind. Again, it’s not easy, but it can be done. There is another quote I heard many years ago and it says, “You cannot stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest.” In other words, those negative/fear thoughts will still pop into your head (as well as mine), but it’s under your control whether or not you let those thoughts build a nest. Or you can shoo those negative thoughts away and replace them with something positive.

There are people who get upset with me because I just do not worry. I’ve finally come to the belief that everything happens for a reason, and that everything is as it should be. It comes to accepting what is. That doesn’t mean that we have to resign ourselves or give up on what is. You’d be surprised what just changing your attitude can do for your outlook on life.

Louise Hay, one of the founders of the self-help movement and author of “Heal Your Body,” always says, “All is well.” I’ve taken that as one of my mantras. All is well even when it appears that it isn’t.

Worry is an offshoot of fear. Right now, a lot of people are living in fear, but it’s mostly fear of the unknown. This is where faith comes in. According to Wikipedia, the word “faith” means “the confident belief in the truth…of a person, idea, or thing.” The informal meaning of the word has many usages, but can be used “in place of trust, belief, or hope.”

It also comes down to the power of our thoughts, and when faith replaces the fear, our positive thought power can bring the miraculous, especially when joined with the collective consciousness of all those who are believing in a positive outcome.

We live in exciting times right now, and it is the responsibility of each of us as individuals to take control of our thoughts and to have faith that all is well. Everything is going to work out for our highest good. Yes, I know it’s difficult to have optimistic attitudes when we seem to be going through our heavy-duty-life-doo. Trust me, I know. But it can be done. It takes work and practice, but I promise you, if you do the work, you will see less fear in your life. You may even start to attract the good things. Metaphysically, if we expect the worst, that’s usually what we’re going to get. And if we expect the best, we may even get that also. (I say “may” because many of us have some deep subconscious things going on that we are not even aware of on a conscious level, but even those can be brought to light if you do the work.)

There are many books written to help us to learn to let go of the fear and live a positive, optimistic life, and I would highly recommend reading them. (A few websites are listed in the right-hand column under Favorite Spiritual Websites.) Bombard your brain with positive writings until you can re-program your mind for the better.

Hang in there, my friends. A quote I came up with years ago is, “Life is beautiful, life is good, life is what you believe it to be.” Find the warrior within.

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Richard Simmons

I love Richard Simmons. Yes, Richard Simmons, the health and exercise guru. About twenty years ago, I first met him at a mall in Mansfield, Ohio before I knew much about him. Before meeting him, my impression was that he was…well…just really out there. As I watched him communicate with the crowd, I saw that he really cared. He was also a hoot. It was then, that I fell in love with him.

Over the past couple of years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to go on two of his “Cruise to Lose” cruises and I got to know Richard a little bit. I found him to be one of the most kindest, caring, and loving people I have ever known. He sincerely cares about people and their health. He is also a big promoter in how important it is to learn to love yourself.

Richard is proof that it's okay to be silly, to laugh, and to enjoy life. He's a great role model, not just for me, but for the thousands whom he has helped, and for those who have had the wonderful gift of getting to know him.

Some time ago, when “Whose Line Is It Anyway” was on the air, Richard was a guest on one of the episodes. I swear it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I laughed so hard that my mouth and abs ached from getting such a great work out. I will laugh hysterically every time I see it, too. Not only is Richard hilarious, but so were the reactions of the others on the show, as well as the hysterics of the audience members.

I am going to try to download the clip from YouTube onto my blog, but if it won’t work, you can see it at (remember to hit your back arrow to come back to the blog): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTxkxG3DF4k&ytsession=FK2ikArkCW4VFbnhyuTFfKB4X68Ae4ikx9pa0aqU3DlOwhY04tW3If1Y8uOp82N_dbH277AdnTRO3Wy9TYjtv7RlOMoYcFxhS4O_oiWM1ujoW0GGhjoiilbTvvTRTHOCJfmKzl5zpoLt9ilE_6vsV0YavoWJgmKkG--NLz6ZJZRsJLNPr2twaKSdQbzdsKxXwdqvgxczhXHdkctXXfQaD4zvFrdW_YTuShVnhgu6BpeC8dAmVd1hV_OWR_jgPF6H
Remember, it's okay to love and laugh. Enjoy life. We are so blessed.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spectacular Inauguration!

We did it! The inauguration was yesterday and it was spectacular! People from all over the world joined hands and hearts for the swearing in of President Barack Hussein Obama. (Just a side note here… Hussein is an Arabic name which is the diminutive of Hassan, meaning "good" or "handsome" or "beautiful" and has nothing to do with Saddam.) I, along with millions of people the world over, watched the festivities with excitement, hope, and a feeling of connectedness to my all fellow human beings.

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, sent a letter to Obama on his inauguration day. It read as follows:

‘Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done. Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.’ These sentiments were echoed all over the world.

Obama is calling for us to come together…to work together…and to be of service to each other. A good many of us are willing to answer that call. Even if it’s just one step or one kindness at a time.

There are those who do not want anything to do with Obama or his message, whether it’s because of personal or political reasons. And that’s fine. Those of us who do answer that call will benefit, if not from the bigger picture (yet), but seeing improvements in our every day lives. It may be just a change of attitude, treating people kinder, or doing whatever we can to help for the greater good of all.

There are also those who are going to complain that they do not want the government in our business. I say that the government IS our business. The government works FOR us…by the people, for the people, of the people. Guess what? We’re the people! We each have to do our part. We not only have to hold our government accountable, but we need to hold ourselves accountable. We are in this together, and we will succeed together. All of us the world over. Yes, we can!

We also need to move forward from the past. This is a whole new day and era. We can honor and learn from our histories and life stories, but we will never move forward if we are clinging to whatever happened up until today. I love the saying, “You can’t move forward if you’re always looking in the rear view mirror.” Our pasts are not our identities, although if we learn the lessons they gave, they can make us a stronger and better people. Are you going to be a victim of your past, or the hero of your future?

Regardless of how you feel about former President Bush, I think it is really important that we just bless him and let him go in peace; not so much for his sake, but for ours. Regardless of what he did or didn't do, or what kind of a President you think he was or wasn't, his Presidency is over...it's in the past. We can learn from what he did or didn't do, but we cannot afford to focus on the negativity. This is not a part of Obama's vision. We cannot continue to look in the rear view mirror. Let us focus on a better tomorrow.

Thank goodness, we’ve overcome so much up to this point. At the moment, I am listening to Louis Armstrong’s beautiful rendition of “We Shall Overcome” and those words apply just as much today than they did when the song was first written many, many years ago.

I will paraphrase some of the verses here: “We shall overcome. We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome, some day. We’ll walk hand in hand, We’ll walk hand in hand some day. Oh, deep in my heart, We shall be free, We shall all be free, some day. We are not afraid, We are not afraid, today. Oh, deep in my heart, We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome, some day.”

That day is here! We are overcoming hatred, bigotry, discrimination, separatism, and are becoming one people regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or walk of life. It’s happening! I believe it! We may still have a lot of work to do, but we're getting there!

The Beatles sang, “Give Peace a Chance.” We can take these words to heart and really work at giving peace a real chance the world over and see a better for future for all.

Many are coming together for the cause. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore produced and filmed a star-studded "Presidential Pledge" video to help encourage community service, and it might give you some ideas on how you can make a difference. I would highly recommend that you check it out at: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=50632298.

As Louis Armstrong sang, “It’s a Wonderful World!” Indeed it is.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Angels As Heroes

The other day, I wrote a post about the plane that crashed in the Hudson River, and how all 155 on board survived. Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III has been hailed a hero, as well he should be. There were many others who helped in the rescue who were also heroes. We commend all of them. To me, they were all angels on earth.

But I would also like to mention all the other heroes all over the world who usually go unrecognized. Everyone from rescue workers to the common man on the street to our military personnel. It really pains me that we make celebrities out of criminals, but our unsung heroes go unrecognized. People will actually commit crimes just to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Some have books written about them, and others have movies made about them to glorify their selfish deeds.

When you watch the news, I would say 99.9% of it is negative. It’s very rare you ever hear about the good that people do. Personally, I would like to see a network with nothing but good news. Call it GNN – the Good News Network. Tell the stories of our heroes the world over. Can you imagine how inspiring it would be to see these stories of men, women, children, and animals who come to the aid of their fellow beings? To our planet?

Some might be saying that no one would watch it. Maybe not at first. I really think that people are getting tired and bored with all the fear and negativity that our average news programs and papers are airing. We are entering a new era of hope and change. I think that eventually, it would catch on.

In the meantime, if you know of someone who was an Angel on earth (whether you know them personally or not), why not recognize them in some way, even if it is only to send them a card blessing them for what they did. Let’s celebrate our heroes and give them the kudos they deserve.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

The Incredible Human Spirit Prevails Again!

Yesterday, a US Airways Airbus taking off for Charlotte, N.C., collided with a flock of birds during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, causing damage to the engines. The pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, was able to safely bring the plane down onto the Hudson River. All 155 people on board survived with only a few injuries. (Looking at the picture at the right, it makes me think that all these people are standing on Angel's wings. Oooh, that just gave me God bumps!)

What was absolutely amazing was that seconds after the plane went down, many boats large and small appeared to help with the rescue! If you think about it, though, maybe it isn’t so amazing in light of all the people that came to the rescue after 9/11. We again became joined together for one cause; that of the human spirit. It didn’t matter what color they were, what religion, age, sex, or any other difference. They were all human beings coming together in service for the common good.

It just warms my heart. I got to thinking about it and I believe this miracle occurred because of the recent change in the country and world’s collective consciousness. In spite of everything going on in the world, people are having hope again. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a better nation and for a better world. Now if we can just increase this collective conscious in the average person to bring peace to the world. There are a growing number of groups who are bringing those peaceful thoughts to this collective consciousness, but unless you are in those circles, you rarely hear about it.

Please take a look at the pictures from the MSNBC website below. Feel the gratitude that all 155 survived. And feel the gratitude for all those who came to their rescue. There IS a lot of good in this world, and I think we’ll be seeing more and more of this in the future.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28679343/displaymode/1107/s/2/framenumber/1/

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama's Top Advisors

A friend just sent me the below link. It has pictures of Barack Obama's advisors. It's so amazing and wonderful to see the diversity! They come from all backgrounds!

If you're interested in seeing the pictures, please go to: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/magazine/2009-inauguration-gallery/index.html .

Just think...if we could just get the whole world to come together for one cause (love, peace, and harmony!), we could have a whole new world! (He and VP Biden just have the greatest smiles!)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who Is God?

Who is God? What is God? IS there a God? These questions have been asked since the beginning of time. If you ask people how they perceive God, you will probably get as many different answers as the number of people you ask. Also, every religion has their own name for God. (I tried to find out just how many different names there were among all the different religions, but have yet to find a definite answer. I found everything from 99 to millions.)

Most everyone will have some kind of perception of who or what they think God is. Some believe He is the God of the Old Testament. A mean old man with long hair and beard who sits up in the clouds, striking people down when they don’t do or say what they think He says we should say or do. He’s a man, white, and is all about fear and condemnation. A very violent and vengeful God. They also believe that if you don’t do what people say He says you should do or not do, then you’ll be sent to Hell, which is a fire hole in the center of the earth, run by an evil demon called Satan. There was a time when I believed in this persona of God. With this God, I constantly lived in fear and guilt. I was always afraid that if I did something wrong, God would strike me dead on the spot. If you ask me, that is not a very fun way to live. And it wasn’t.

There are others who believe in the God of the Old and New Testament, but He’s a loving God. You still have to do what He says or you’ll still be sent to Hell (that’s loving?), but he’s not as temperamental as the first God I mentioned.

Then there are those who believe that God is an energy of unconditional love. He is genderless, so sometimes He is referred to as She. In fact, they don’t always use the name God. She’s called by many other names: Spirit, Universe, Divine, etc. There is no fear or guilt associated with this God because a God of unconditional love does not need or want to use fear or guilt to control you. He just loves you no matter what. There’s no hell to send you to and everyone crosses over (some call it Heaven) regardless of the life they lived. This is the God I now believe in, though I prefer to call Her Universe. (The name God still makes me think of that mean old man in the sky.)

Let me tell you just a little bit of my experiences in my journey to find the Divine that I believe in today. I was raised Baptist. My parents took us to church, and to their credit, they never forced it on us (that I remember anyway). Two of my grandparents were devout born-again Baptists and we did feel a bit of pressure from them to be saved and get baptized, which I did while still in high school. In my senior year of high school, I became heavily involved in the born-again Christian community and believed that anyone who didn’t believe as I did was going straight to hell. I lived in constant fear. It affected the way I felt about myself because I was always having it drummed into me that you had to suffer for Jesus. If I was feeling good about myself, I would believe that according to God, that was feeling cocky, and if I didn’t watch it, God would make something happen to bring me down a notch. I couldn’t feel that I was pretty or God would make something happen to take away my looks. I couldn’t feel I had a good body or God would make something bad happen to handicap me. And I couldn’t have money because in order to serve Jesus, you had to be poor.

Later, I became Pentecostal, which made things worse than the previous. One of the ministers told us in a service that if there were anyone we knew who died before being saved, they would go to hell and it would be my fault. I couldn’t take communion because if I had just one sin that I didn’t acknowledge, then the devil would surely come and get me. Talk about a burden! I was scared of living and I was scared of dying!

In about 1983, I had it with religion and decided that I wasn’t going to believe in anything. I was done with it and I was done with God. Fortunately, when I moved to Nashville in 1992, I thought I would try to go to church again, only this time, I began attending the Unity and Religious Science churches. (I think we’re pre-wired to search for some kind of Divine.) At first it was hard because I would literally have panic attacks and would have to force myself to stay seated or I would literally run out the back door! I began to learn about a whole different God than I had previously believed in. And I began to get my faith back.

Now I believe that God is all about unconditional love. I no longer believe in the devil, hell, or evil beings. Up until this time, I used to constantly have horrible nightmares that the devil was trying to kill me, and you haven’t had a nightmare until you dreamed that you were raped by Satan! I also began to learn that the Universe made us into these magnificent, spectacular, miraculous beings and wants nothing but the BEST for us! She wants us to be happy, to feel loved, to prosper and live in abundance in all things! We are part of the Divine! We are part of this universal energy called unconditional love!

Yes, my spiritual journey has been one amazing adventure. But just because I believe one thing does not mean that I am right and that everyone else is wrong. I’m waaaay over those days. I believe that no one is right or wrong, and that whatever someone believes is okay. I respect everyone’s right to have their own believes, whatever they may be. That’s part of their journey and has nothing to do with me. My job is to be the best person I can be and to be of service to humanity. That’s what makes this world so wonderful and interesting….our diversity. There is still only one God to all, no matter what you call Him. He/She is just perceived in different forms. Again, it all comes down to our belief systems. I figure that we’ll all find out for sure once we cross over anyway. In the meantime, I’m just going to do the best I can with what I know at this time. That’s all any of us can do.

Namaste’

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Loving the Unlovable

After I wrote the post before this, I got to thinking that people would have questions as to how you love someone who is unlovable. How do you love someone who hurt people? How do you love those whom we are at war with? Not everyone can. In fact, I would go so far as to say that probably most of us couldn't.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I really believe that when we are born, we are born as pure, unconditional, perfect love. When we're born, we do not just decide that we are going to commit crimes, kill people, or become a terrorist when we grow up. Everything we become is a result of our upbringing, our experiences, and our environment. We are taught to become by those instances.

I know that many who read the previous post (Humanity's Hope) will ask, "how can I love a terrorist?" You can't. What I try to do is remember that person as a newborn. Before they were brainwashed into believing that they had to kill. Before they were taught to hate. In no way do I condone their actions (whether they are a terrorist or anyone else who harms humanity). They still have to be accountable for their actions and to answer for them in whatever ways society dictates.

That's how I feel the connection between all of us. If we look to people as they are now, it's very easy to feel disconnected. It's hard to feel the love, compassion, and understanding. I also try to remember that they were taught to hate.

I also realize that people always have a choice. But they only have a choice when they are aware that they have a choice. Most people go through their lives believing that their life circumstances are a result because they didn't have a choice. We always have a choice; even if that choice is to feel that we don't have a choice.

I would highly recommend that you read Immaculee Ilibagiza's books, "Left to Tell" and "Led by Faith." I don't think any other book has had the impact on me that these books have had. You see, Immaculee is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in Africa. Just about all of her family, relatives, and friends were literally slaughtered by the militia. When the Hutu extremists raided her village to kill all of the Tutsi's, she was able to escape to the home of a local friend and Hutu minister (Imamaculee is a Tutsi) who hid Immaculee and seven other women (eight total) in a small bathroom measuring three foot by four foot (yes, you read that right) for three months. They couldn't make a sound as the Hutu's would go through the house every day looking for them. (A large dressing bureau was placed in front of the door.) The minister would give them food when he could, but sometimes, they could go days without eating. When Immaculee went into hiding, she weighed 115 pounds. When she came out, she weighed 65 pounds.

The extraordinary thing about Immaculee was that she was able to forgive all those who commit ed such heinous crimes against her family! Can you imagine?!? Personally, I don't think I could have been so gracious. She is now married with children, and works for the United Nations in New York, and continues to work to help those who were affected by the genocide, particularly the children.

So, I think for myself, if Immaculee can do what she did after living through such a horrendous experience, then I can at least try. Our humanity and our world depends on each of us. Without us, there is no hope.

For more information about Immaculee, please go to her website at: http://www.immaculee.com/

Friday, January 2, 2009

Humanity's Hope

It is hard to believe that the year 2009 is upon us! I’m still trying to figure out what happened to 2008! In this new year, we have the most glorious opportunity to make the choices to be the grandest vision of who we can be…as a nation, as a world, and as a people.

We are in a state of miraculous transition, and it is our choice as to how we want to see our future unfold. Yes, it is our choice…and each of us as individuals can be a part of the collective consciousness that makes the choices and the changes for a better tomorrow. It is time for us to take personal responsibility for our welfare and for our future.

We can no longer go on expecting others to do the work for us. Not our government, churches, schools, businesses, banks, the wealthy, medical community, etc. It will take each of us, individually, to be the change we wish to see in the world. Gandhi said that and he was right on.

We can also no longer continue to hate others and be intolerant just because they may be different than we are, or have a different belief/religion, different skin color, nationality, race, or have a different view on their sexual preferences. It’s time we come back to unconditional love for our fellow man, our animal brothers and sisters, and for our Mother Earth.

The greatest spiritual leaders and teachers throughout history have taught unconditional love. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Mohammed, Lao Tse, Joseph Campbell, the Dalai Lama, Ram Dass, and many more all the way up to the present time. Somehow, though, from the beginning of the human race and throughout the ages, people began to argue, fight, and even go to war over who had the only true religion, whose God was better, and who was right and wrong. We’ve forgotten all about unconditional love and put an unlimited number of conditions on our love. Every religious teaching in existence teaches that unconditional love is the number one rule.

So what is unconditional love? I looked to Wikipedia on the Internet to see what it had to say and I found the following:

“Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of his actions or beliefs. Unconditional love separates the individual from his behaviors. The individual is loved unconditionally as a "perfect" child of the Higher Power. Harold W. Becker, author and founder of the Love Foundation, Inc., defines unconditional love as "an unlimited way of being." From his book of the same title, Becker goes on to say that "the greatest power known to man is that of unconditional love... As humans, we searched endlessly for the experience of love through the outer senses…We, the people of this planet, may have missed the simplicity of unconditional love. Simply stated, unconditional love is an unlimited way of being. We are without any limit to our thoughts and feelings in life and can create any reality we choose to focus our attention upon. The qualities of love are endless and the expressions are infinite. The power of unconditional love is within each of us."”

How do we have unconditional love for others? It begins by loving ourselves unconditionally. Wikipedia continued to state: “Unconditional love of self is the concept of loving yourself regardless of external conditions. If a person is looking outside him or herself for love they may never find unconditional love or even enough love to be happy. Unconditional love of self is considered the foundation for unconditional love because of this. Once a person is able to love him or herself without condition they will be able to love others without condition. Some gurus/teachers would describe this as an overflow effect as if the person is overflowing with love or agape. Unconditional love of self is most often used in conjunction with self-acceptance as a way to bring the self to a place of well-being and self understanding.”

The challenge is that not everyone is experiencing the awareness that we have the power to control our thoughts, our beliefs, and our reality. Not everyone is on a spiritual journey or even cares to learn that there is more to us that meets the eye. We get so wrapped up in the problems of our lives that it becomes our identity and we lose hope that it can be any different so we don’t even try.

Everything we know, think, and believe is just that…our belief system. Beliefs change all the time, but many of us get caught up in a certain belief system, and we think that’s just the way it is. People think in terms of black and white…it is or it isn’t. If you think about it, everything we believe was either taught to us, or we learned from our experiences and our perspective was based upon those beliefs.

One of the greatest things I learned is to keep an open mind in ALL things. To learn to love ALL people regardless of our differences. That doesn’t mean I have to condone their actions, though. To know that there is always a bigger picture and even that picture may not be as it seems.

There are times when I feel such an overwhelming sense of love for my fellow beings (human, animal, and that of the earth) that I feel like I’m just going to burst into a ball of love energy. I get it! We really are a part of each other. Quantum physics is proving this over and over. We really are all made of the exact same stuff, but we just appear in different forms. We are all made of pure, unconditional, perfect love. (That doesn’t mean that I’m in this feeling all time. I still have to constantly work at it myself and I have my moments were I could just smack the smithereens out of someone; with love, of course…grin.)

So, who or what is humanity’s hope? WE ARE! Each and every one of us. Don’t worry about what the next person is or isn’t doing. Just be concerned with yourself. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be the example. Be the miracle. Work on your own love. We may not always get it right, and we’ll still have our moments of intense negative feelings toward someone or some thing. And remember that what anyone else does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with you. Imagine if we could get enough people to work on adding to the collective consciousness of unconditional love….just think where it could take us?

I’d like to leave you with a quote I found in “The Divine Matrix – Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief” by Gregg Braden (which I highly recommend you read to learn more about our Quantum world): “When we understand us, our consciousness, we also understand the universe and the separation disappears.” (Amit Goswami, physicist).